LAKELAND, Fla. — The City of Lakeland is using half a million dollars on a project to revitalize the downtown area. Pretty soon you’ll see more murals in Lakeland.
On Monday, Lakeland Community Redevelopment Agency launched its Art Infusion Grant program to bring more than 100 murals to businesses in downtown and Dixieland.
“Basically a façade improvement on buildings along the South Florida Corridor and what it does is a revitalization of paint along with a collaboration of murals,” said Damaris Stull, CRA project manager.
Business owners along the corridor can submit an application online, to have a new mural painted and can have an awning added, too. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis and grants will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis.
The redevelopment team is also looking to pay artists to paint these murals. Interested artists will need to set up an online account via CAFÉ and submit a portfolio for consideration.
“Whatever the artist has uploaded the business owner will be able to view. From there they will submit the top three artists that they really like,” Stull said.
Dixieland has undergone major redevelopment in the last few years with new businesses and road improvement projects. The redevelopment team hopes the grant will bring more art, music and culture back to the area.
"We're really focusing on Dixieland to bring back some of the old town feel. You know, Dixieland was very historic, it was very walkable. At some point, it kind of evolved into just a thru-way for traffic. And so we really want to change that. And we've already re-purposed the lanes here. And so there's a reduction in the number in the lanes within the corridor. And we believe ultimately, that this artwork in combination with reducing the traffic in the area will turn Dixieland into more of a destination," explains Alis Drumgo, Manager of City of Lakeland CRA.
“It was always very, very up and coming. So we want to bring that feel back. We want it to be a place that people want to go and do their shopping and eating,” said Stull.
Kate Hall is an artist that painted a huge mural on the side of a business called Low Country Vintage. It's visible as you drive-by and has helped the business get noticed.
"I think it's it's been really cool to see how it's connected with the community. And like, while I was working on at the business owner, we she was taking pictures of all the people that came in to take pictures of it. And then she told me, she said we had our highest day of sales, you know, right now, so I thought that was really cool. You know, definitely correlation. So it's just nice to see the community get excited about the artwork and the culture that it's bringing to the area," says Hall.